Spring clean up when you can't burn

susanswoods(Z6 VA)April 8, 2010

I have a wildflower meadow that is about 1000 sq. ft. I nearly killed myself this weekend cutting back the dried stems from last year. They grow abou 5 ft. tall and are tough and woody. The string trimmer didn't even dent them. I ended up using a dethatching rake to drag through the mess. I need some sort of cutter but am intimidated by the thought of a scythe. What do people use to cut stuff like this?

I know the preferred method is to burn it off but my neighbors and the town fire department would have a conniption fit if I tried it in my back yard.

I am looking at this tool from Lehman's. Has anyone used something like this?



Here is a link that might be useful: My natives blog

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I do trail maintenance for the National Forest Service and we use a DR string trimmer to maintain the trails. It's much more powerful than a hand held string trimmer and will cut through brush up to 1" diameter. If purchasing a machine is not in your budget, it can be rented at your local hardware store.

Here is a link that might be useful: DR string trimmer

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 10:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I probably have about 1000 square feet of native perennials, mostly strong, tall prairie plants, spread over several beds. I am in an older suburb and burning is out of the question. In the spring, it's relatively easy to break down the stems close to ground level and either carry or rake them off the beds. Grab a handful of stalks close to ground level and bend them--do not pull, because some shallower-rooted plants will come right out of the ground.

I pile last year's growth and fallen leaves onto a tarp, drag it away, and then compost all of it. I work on a small area at a time. I can't say that the entire job is enjoyable, but I do enjoy uncovering the new growth, reconnecting with the plants, weeding, and moving things around in the different beds.

I should mention that I'm close to 60. I do exercises to strengthen my back muscles, especially this time of the year!

I finished the whole job yesterday, and now I am really enjoying the gardens.

Here is a link that might be useful: follow me on twitter

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 11:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hi there
if you would consider an motor powered tool there is this kind of tough hedge trimmer on a stick, product number FH-KM 135. It is designed to clear undergrowth and dense weed so it should be fine for prairie clearing. I have seen municipal gardeners using it on plantings of sub shrubs (Hypericum calycinum). OK, it is really a Rolls Royce, but it should be a great tool. When I trained as a landscape contractor we had some Stihl chain saw and things and they are awsome.
Well, depends upon the size of your patch.

cheers, Lin

Here is a link that might be useful: really neat power tool

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 6:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Susanswoods; the ag tool for this is a tractor and a brush-hog. That'll do the trick. If someone nearby you doesn't have one (most farmers will), it can be rented but a little costly...renting one for the day in my area will cost about $150 delivered, but it's worth it. 1000 square feet would take maybe 10 minutes to cut.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Musings

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 12:13PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Sowing prairie seed into snow
I am interested if anybody has experience with prairie...
Too late to sow grass seeds now?
I have planted an area with prairie grasses and forbs....
establishing a prairie garden - QUACKgrass
I've started converting my lawn to a prairie with the...
sudangrass and canada thistle
Has anyone here used sudangrass to try and suppress...
Transplant Asclepias tuberosa?
I'd like to have Butterfly Weed in my perennial bed...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™